Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Online Storage for Photos and Videos: The Quick and Dirty Guide

I pleaded my case in an earlier post regarding why it is imperative for anyone (especially a parent) to utilize an online storage solution to back up their precious photos.

I'm not going to try to cover each and every solution out there, but most will fall into one of the following models. Here goes the quick and dirty breakdown.

Shutterfly, Kodak, Snapfish and other such online sites are useless as an online storage option in that they do not allow you to view your images in it's original form. Your pictures looks so much better in large format - but on top of that, they occasionally require you to purchase their sub-standard quality prints. Their goal is to sell you products, so they will not serve your need to backup and protect those wonderful memories.

Picasa is Google's online application to organize/share/edit your photos and videos. Free users have album upload limits but even paid/upgraded accounts have limits, but the free limit of 1GB is almost unusable and for the price of upgrade, there are far better options out there.

Flickr is Yahoo's online application to organize/share/edit your photos and videos. Their free option is better in the sense that it is unlimited storage but you are limited to uploading 100MB a month. That's not even an hour's worth of photos in this age of 10 megapixel photos. Their pro upgrade option is pretty cost effective at $25 per year for unlimited storage. The drawbacks are their browsing capability can be awkward for a lot of people and they do not offer a print option so grandma can not order her own pictures. They have a great online community and should you lose your photos, there are 3rd party applications to bulk download all your files but the download process may take awhile.

Dropbox is a strict online storage application for any type of file. The issue for most people is no easy way to share your photos. They are not a cost effective option because they charge $20 per month for only 100GB of storage. (After all, don't we all have hard drives greater than 500GB?)

Smugmug is an online application to organize/share/edit your photos and videos. They have no free offering except for a gratis two week trial. They overcome most of the shortcomings I mentioned in the above sites. For $40 per year, you get unlimited storage, no degradation in online image quality. In addition, the presentation of the website is simple yet sophisticated. Here's a $5 COUPON off Smugmug, give it a spin. If you lose your pictures at home, just download from smugmug or order some DVD's sent to your house. They offer printing through their professional labs which are used and highly regarded by pro photographers. I have a pro account at smugmug and i simply love the offering.

I know what some of you are thinking... can't I just print at Shutterfly or Costco for pennies? Not if you want good prints. You're going to have to take my word on the printing for now... that will be a whole other post.

Rich is a modern lifestyle photographer based out of West Los Angeles, California.
He specializes in candid, photojournalistic photography for children, family, and events and is known for capturing unique definitive moments in a documentary fashion.

Copyright © 2009 by Rich Mar Photography


Anonymous said...

good tips... never knew that about smug mug... now can you do a post on how to keep your camera clean...hehehe...

Will Wang said...

Awesome post Richard. This is very useful information to a novice like me. We do use smugmug at PbP, they gave us free access because they are kind to NFPs. Kudos on great post.

ZooeyWhite said...

Thanks for this good help. :)

Well, I would just like to add to the list, if your looking for online storage for baby photos I'd suggest BabyPics is an online baby album site which is great for keeping all baby photos online and easily share them to family and friends.

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